I just got some potato tubers from a seed catalog and had some questions:
1. The instructions that came with the tubers said I can either wait until the plants die off to harvest the crop or, if the season is coming to an end and the plant hasn't died back, I can cut the plant back to the ground, wait a few days for the skins to set, then harvest. My question is, does that mean it's okay to let the potato plants flower? Will this effect the flavor of the spuds?
2. It doesn't really matter because I've already planted them but, for future reference, do I water them in when I plant the tubers? The instructions didn't clarify but I assumed that the added moisture would encourage the eyes to put out shoots. Hopefully I didn't just rot all of them... I didn't soak the soil - moistened it similar to how you'd moisten soil for starting seeds.
3. The potatoes are described as "seed potatoes" - does that mean that the plants they grow off of were begun as seeds and not divided tubers? I'm just curious about that one.
Anyway, any general knowledge from experienced potato growers would be greatly appreciated. The variety that I'm growing is a "blue" (I thought it was purple... but the catalog calls them "blue"... not sure if there's a difference....) mid-early season varietal. I live in a coastal, central coast California town. I'm growing two separate lots in my garden of 20 potato plants. I'm also growing 13 potato plants in pots to give away to friends who garden.